Renovation Realities

I was asked to look at an exterior wall which had no brick ties or moisture barrier, the room was an add on that caught on fire and the last couple did the work themselves. The contractor asked me what needs to be done, so I told him to take the brick down and do it right, he didn’t like that answer and sought another opinion. Spray in foam insulation was recommended, it was likened to “great stuff” what is used for sealing pipe penetrations, along sill plates, or were ever you want to stop air infiltration. I don’t like that recommendation but if anyone has expirienced this type of remedy and has worked, let me know, also looking for diagrams that can backup my claim of why it can be a bad idea.
Have pics, figuring out how to attach.

I think it’s a bad idea for a home inspector to prescribe remedies for defects. A contractor who disagrees with you will ensure that you are wrong.

Yea your right, but I will still wright it up with the start over recommendation, limit the liability that may happen when the contractors second opinion fails, last time I will get involved in a reno.

you can reference manufacturers recommendations, that sure does not allow filling the gap with foam.

Robert, in order to answer your question you need to provide more data…too many times inspectors will show a close up picture or give partial information which does not accurately allow their internet cohorts to give a true assessment.

With that said, I had a similar situation in which a close GC friend of mine had me inspect a home whereby an investor purchased, gutted it down to the studs which were in direct contact with the brick and what made it more interesting is that the brick studs were laid flat against the wall giving us a 1.5" wall cavity. There were no brick ties, no sheathing, no vapor barrier… on the surface most HI and GC would advise to tear it down however that was not the case. After doing a little more indepth inspection we were able to determine that there was an additional brick veneer of which had proper spacing.

I suggested to the builder to either spray foam the cavities or fill them with an approved styrofoam and then spray for air infiltration. I put the GC in contact with my SE and he advised him of the same action.

Jame is right though on the rolls of an HI…unless that HI has the training, experience and the willingness to accept liability for that advice they should steer clear of giving recommendations outside of their fields of expertise.

I am sure you can provide more information and a slew of pictures but when all is said and done I know myself and others will mostly likely tell you to defer the GC to a SE.

On a side note I find it strange that a GC doesn’t know what to do but yet is asking an HI who is at best a generalist.
The GC in question sounds like your typical GC who often fly by the seat of their pants hoping that building inspectors and/or HI will catch their mistakes or tell them how to do their job…one of my many pet peeves with GC’s.


This contractor was looking to save an 80yr old client some money,so he say’s, most of which was spent on reroofing. He called me in to backup his claim to the home owner about the need for a moisture barrier.
When his second opinion was to use the spray foam it concerned me because I have not heard of filling whole wall cavities with it.

I learn by doing, so I just learned something


Spray foams consist of open and closed cell(also called low density and high density), he is probably talking about Corbond… and there are some sales rep that make bold statements about their product however I would be suspicious of any claim that states that a foam product can of and by itself be used as both a vapor and moisture barrier on a large application.

Yes you can fill cavities with it however manufacturer specifications have to be completely adhered to including their limitations… I would want to see the documentation of the product and its installation procedures.

You can also look for ICC reports on same.